Christiaan Snouck Hurgronje: History Of Orientalist Manipulation Of Islam – AnalysisWritten by: New Civilisation September 14, 2011
“According to Snouck the fundamental problem with Islam was the fact that Muslims believed in the need for Unity of State, with a Khalifah governing over all of them according to Sharia law. In a letter to Goldziher in 1886, one year after his journey to Mecca, Snouck said: “… I never had any objections to the religious elements of this institute [Islam]. Only its political influence is, in my opinion, deplorable. And as a Dutchmen especially I feel a strong need to warn against this.”
Although dead for over half a century, Christiaan Snouck Hurgronje remains a highly controversial figure in both the western and the Muslim world.
In his time he was a world-famous orientalist, because he had travelled to Mecca and studied and documented Muslim life there. For many years also he lived and worked amongst the Muslims in Indonesia, making him an expert in the traditions, languages and religion of the various tribes in Indonesia.
To the people and governments of the west he always presented himself as a scientist. And as a scientist he advised various western governments on “Muslim affairs”. At the same time he presented himself as a sincere Muslim – and not as a scientist – to the people of the Muslim world that he lived with and studied. Amongst them he went by the name of “Abdul Ghaffaar”. As an Islamic scholar he even counseled the Muslims on religious and political affairs.
Because he played this dual role throughout his life, today, both in the western and in the Muslim world, he is held in great esteem by some and doubted by others. This article intends to set out the facts regarding Christiaan Snouck Hurgronje.
Christiaan Snouck Hurgronje, the personChristiaan Snouck Hurgronje was born on the 8th of February 1857 in the Dutch city of Oosterhout. His father was Jacob Julianus Snouck Hurgronje (1812 – 1870), who was a preacher in the protestant Dutch-Reformed church. For a while, Jacob had been expelled from the church for having an affair with Anna Maria de Visser (1819 – 1892) while being married to Adriana Magdalena van Adrichem (1813 – 1854). After Adriana died, Jacob finally married Anna Maria and he was allowed back into the church. From his marriage with Anna Maria, Christiaan was eventually born.
Christiaan Snouck Hurgronje’s mother Anna Maria also came from a family of protestant preachers. Jan Scharp (1756 – 1828) was Anna Maria’s grandfather, and he was a famous preacher in the south-east of the Netherlands. He was also a missionary, and to support the missionary activity of the Dutch protestant church he wrote a book about Islam in 1824.
After finishing high school in the city of Breda, in the year 1874, Christiaan Snouck Hurgronje moved to Leiden to study theology. The plan was for him to become a preacher in the protestant church, following the examples of his father and grandfather. In 1878 he indeed finished his university education in theology, but by that time he no longer believed in the dogmas of Christianity. Hence, instead of becoming a preacher, Snouck continued studying. He began a study of Semitic languages, specializing in Arabic and Islam. In 1880 he graduated in this field with honor’s. For his doctorate he had researched the Hajj of the Muslims. The book Snouck wrote about this subject following his research, “The Meccan Celebrations (Het Mekkaansche Feest)”, he dedicated to his mother.
Immediately following his promotion Snouck travelled to Germany to privately study with the most famous orientalist in the world at that time, Theodoor Nöldeke. After this study Snouck then began his own career in Orientalism.
Christiaan Snouck Hurgronje, the scientistSnouck was close friend of another famous orientalist of his time, Ignac Goldziher (1850 – 1921). Goldziher was a Hungarian of Jewish heritage who had also studied in Leiden. In 1873 Goldziher had been granted a scholarship by the Hungarian government to travel through As Shaam, (today Palestine, Syria, Lebanon and Jordan) and Egypt. This had given Goldziher the opportunity to become the first non-Muslim to study Islam at Al Azhar in Cairo. Goldziher eventually wrote a book about his experiences, which made him a world famous orientalist.
It was Snouck’s dream to achieve a similar position in the field of Orientalism. In 1884 he got his chance. The Dutch consul in Jeddah, today Saudi-Arabia but at that time still part of the Ottoman Islamic State, a certain J.A. Kruyt, arranged a scholarship worth 1500 guilders for Snouck with the Dutch Government. With this money Snouck could travel to Mecca. The only problem was that Snouck was not a Muslim, which was required for anyone wanting to travel to the Holy City. Therefore, Snouck first travelled to Jeddah. After having lived in the offices of the consulate for some time, on the 1st of January 1885 he moved into the house of an Indonesian nobleman in Jeddah, Raden Haji Aboe Bakr Djajadiningrat from Pandeglang. From that moment onwards Snouck used the name Abdul Ghaffaar as he presented himself as a convert to Islam and on the 5th of January he even had himself circumcised according to Islamic tradition. When a little later, on the 16th of January 1885, Snouck was visited by the Judge (qadhi) of Jeddah, Ismail Agha, and two representatives of the Governor (wali) for the Hejaz of the Ottoman Khilafah sitting in Istanbul, he declared conversion to Islam (shahadah) in their presence. The next day Snouck was told that the Governor for the Hejaz invited him to travel to Mecca.
Snouck himself confessed that his conversion to Islam was not sincere, but only a step he deemed necessary to achieve his goal of travelling to Mecca. In a letter to his friend Goldziher, written on the day he converted, he said: “I do not want to keep hidden from you that it is possible, or even quite possible, that I will travel to Mecca […]. Of course, if one does not pretend to be Muslim [literally: does Izhar al Islam], this is not possible.”
Snouck’s Muslim disguise was a success. Letters he received during his stay in Mecca were addressed to “Abdul Ghaffaar”, and in them Snouck was regularly called “brother in Name of Allah”. Snouck was also informed by letter that the scholars of Mecca had accepted him as a Muslim and that they did not doubt his conversion. And that, hence, he would be allowed to join in their study circles, which Snouck then did.
After just five and a half months, however, and just days before the start of Hajj, Snouck had to flee Mecca because the French embassy had spread rumours about him being a thief of ancient artifacts. Hence, just a few days before Snouck could witness what he wanted to witness, he left Mecca.
Back in The Netherlands Snouck began work on a book about his experiences in the Holy City. Where his own notes on the ways and practices of the Meccans were limited, his friend Raden Aboe Bakr helped out through sending Snouck letters with additional information. This way Snouck was able to publish the book “Mecca (Mekka)” in 1888. And this book did indeed make him world-famous as an orientalist. But although around 100 of the 300 pages of the book, which include the descriptions of the personal life of the Meccans and the biographies of the Indonesian Ulema living in Mecca, were based on the letters by Raden Aboe Bakr, Snouck made no mention of the support he had received from Aboe Bakr and instead presented the entire work as purely his own effort.
The book made him such a famous orientalist that both the University of Leiden and the University of Cambridge offered him the faculty chair for their Arabic and Islam departments. But Snouck declined both offers, as he wanted to do more research on Islam, this time in the Dutch colony Indonesia. For this purpose Snouck again left The Netherlands, on the 1st of April 1889, this time to travel to Indonesia. In Indonesia as well he presented himself as a Muslim, as he introduced himself to the locals as Abdul Ghaffaar. And he travelled throughout Indonesia accompanied by the Indonesians he had met during his time in Mecca. Raden Hadji Hasan Moestafa from Garut, for instance, accompanied Snouck on his first trip through West and Central Java. Leaving Batavia on the 15th of July, Snouck visited Sukabumi, Bandung, Garut, Tjalintjing, again Garut, Tjeribon, Mangunredja, Tjiamis, again Tjeribon, Tegal, Pekalongan, Wiradesa, Bumiadjo, Banjumas, Purbollinggo, Wonosobo, Purworedjo, Kebumen, again Garut en Tjiandjur. In January of 1890, finally, Snouck returned to Batavia. In a letter to Theodoor Nöldeke, dated the 12th of November 1889, Snouck said about his travels: “For over three months I have been travelling now. I have visited the most important places of Java’s 26 main cities and made acquaintance with the highly interesting way of life of the local Sunda and West-Java people, especially the religious side of it, but also with the ‘adat’ which are so loved and honored here…”. During his travels Snouck regularly contributed to the Dutch Newspapers “De Locomotief” (published in Indonesia) and “Nieuwe Rotterdamsche Courant” (published in The Netherlands). In his articles he described the Javanese way of living, as he witnessed it first-hand. For these articles Snouck used the pseudonyms “Toekoe Mansoer” and “Toekoe Si Gam”.
Following this, from the 16th of July 1891 until early February 1892 Snouck resided in Aceh. There, as the first Dutchmen ever, he studied the local Acehnese language. In 1900 he then published a book on this subject, entitled: “Studies in the Acehnese language (Atjehsche taalstudiën)”. Again together with Raden Hadji Hasan Moestafa from Garut Snouck also travelled to the pesantrens of Aceh, to develop insight into the religious education of the area. On the basis of these travels Snouck then published the book “The Acehnese (De Atjehers)”, in two volumes between 1893 and 1894. “The Acehnese” is an anthropological book that describes all aspects of the life of the Acehnese, their political situation, the religion, their language, their traditions and customs, et cetera.
In 1906, then, Snouck returned to The Netherlands to become professor of Arabic at the University of Leiden. He remained in this position until 1927.
In 1914 and 1915 Snouck was invited to travel to various universities in the United States. The lectures he gave at that time were turned into a book in 1916, with the title “Mohammedanism: Lectures on Its Origin, Its Religious and Political Growth, and Its Present State”. These lectures set out well Snouck’s personal views on Islam. According to Snouck, the Prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him) had made up Islam. He said: “Even for the parts [of the Quran] which we do understand, we are not able to make out the chronological arrangement which is necessary to gain an insight into Mohammed’s personality and work.” This remark implies that according to Snouck Prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him) had made up the Quran. Because according to Snouck the personality of Prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him) can be learned from the Quran, as the personality of a writer shows in his writings. According to Snouck also, Prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him) had learned certain things about Judaism and Christianity, and had on the basis of this information made up the Quran. He said: “We shall probably never know, by intercourse with whom it really was that Mohammed at last gained some knowledge of the contents of the sacred books of Judaism and Christianity; probably through various people, and over a considerable length of time. It was not lettered men who satisfied his awakened curiosity; otherwise the quite confused ideas […] could not be explained. Confusions […] might be put down to misconceptions of Mohammed himself, who could not all at once master the strange material. But his representation of Judaism and Christianity and a number of other forms of revelation […] could not have existed if he had had an intimate acquaintance with Jewish or Christian men of letters.”. That is why according to Snouck the ethics of Islam were not much more than a collection of laws from the old and new testament: “Now this rich authentic source […] of exhortation to the practice of the cardinal virtues of the Old and New Testament…”
For as far as the narrations were concerned, according to Snouck most of these were invented by the Muslims: “in the first centuries of Islam no one could have dreamt of any other way of gaining acceptance for a doctrine or a precept than by circulating a tradition, according to which Mohammed had preached the doctrine or dictated it or had lived according to the precept.”. According to Snouck many things had not yet been clarified when Prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him) died. Hence, he said, the Muslims invented traditions to resolve the issues this was causing. The books of Seerah therefore were complete forgeries, so Snouck said: “The generations that worked at the biography of the Prophet were too far removed from his time to have true data or notions; and, moreover, it was not their aim to know the past as it was, but to construct a picture of it as it ought to have been according to their opinion.”
His opinions regarding the Sunnah and the Seerah show that Snouck considered Muslim authors as wholly unreliable. Most likely this is why he said regarding the books of Tafseer written by the Muslims: “We must endeavour to make our explanations of the Quran independent of tradition.”. In other words, to understand the Quran western scientists should ignore the opinions of the Muslims regarding the meaning of the Quran, according to Snouck, as he saw these opinions as unreliable and most likely wrong.
Christiaan Snouck Hurgronje, the political advisorSnouck lived during the times of colonialism. The Netherlands were the colonial ruler over Indonesia, and hence the Dutch newspapers regularly reported about events and occurrences in the “Dutch-Indies”. In addition, the Dutch newspapers regularly ran opinion pieces that discussed the problems the Dutch were facing in their colony, and that proposed solutions to these problems. In other words, colonial politics were hotly debated. A major problem for the Dutch in Indonesia was the resistance by the local people against the Dutch rule. To a large extent, this resistance was inspired by Islam. Many Indonesians fought as they saw themselves subjects of the Islamic State Al Khilafah whose lands had been occupied by foreigners. This was the case especially in Aceh. As a consequence, the Dutch found themselves bogged down in a long, tiring and above all expensive war in that region of Indonesia.
It is very clear that Snouck realized he had the ability to play a prominent role in this issue. From the earliest beginnings of his career as an orientalist he did his best to play this role. For instance in the book he wrote for his dissertation, “The Meccan Celebrations (De Mekkaansche feesten)”, he wrote the following advice for the Dutch government: “Where in the Dutch Indies the pilgrims have a bad influence on the local [Indonesian] people, there one should punish as hard as possible, also with the goal of reducing the number of people going to Hajj”.
Equally, Snouck’s journey to Mecca did not only serve a scientific goal. The reason that consul Kruyt in Jeddah organized a scholarship from the Dutch Ministery of Colonial Affairs for Snouck, such that Snouck could travel to Mecca, was that Kruyt wanted to have spy in Mecca who could provide information on the Indonesians in Mecca. It wasn’t really a coincidence, therefore, that the house in Jeddah that Snouck lived in together with Raden Aboe Bakr was exactly across the street from the house of a prominent Acehnese nobleman, that was used as hotel by many Acehnese pilgrims. So from their house Snouck and Raden Aboe Bakr could keep track of whoever entered or left the guesthouse for Acehnese in Jeddah. In the book about his time in Mecca Snouck also gave advice to the Dutch government regarding Indonesia. He said that the colonial government should keep an eye on returning pilgrims and try to win their sympathy. If efforts to realize this failed with any particular pilgrim, Snouck further said, then the Dutch government had to neutralize that pilgrim.
So where it could be said that Snouck’s journey to Mecca had science as its real aim, and intelligence gathering as a side task; regarding Snouck’s journey to Indonesia it is clear that its real aim was intelligence gathering. Any stated scientific goals served as nothing but a cloak to hide this truth. Snouck himself had asked the Dutch government to be sent to Indonesia as a spy for the Dutch: “In response to the discussion I was honored enough to have with your Excellency, I wish to repeat the request I have earlier communicated through letter, which is that I be sent to Aceh…”. The Dutch government agreed to his request en indeed sent him to Indonesia as their agent. Snouck said he wanted to concentrate his work on Aceh: “Before leaving for Indonesia […] I explained the minister that for as far as the political importance of Islam is concerned, Aceh must be of prime importance of my research.”. The Dutch government therefore sent a letter to its civil servants in Indonesia which said: “Direct interference [in Snouck’s visit] by yourself or those reporting to you must be carefully avoided, such that it can be ensured its official goal does not become apparent to the local people, because that would be most damaging to the possible results.”. In other words, the Dutch instructed the colonial administration to stay clear of Snouck, such that he could win the trust of the local people.
In The Netherlands, however, the reality of Snouck’s journey to Indonesia was common knowledge. And many people hoped that Snouck would be able to solve the problems for the Dutch in Indonesia, once and for all. Various newspapers therefore tried to keep their readers informed of Snouck’s activities in Indonesia. Until, that is, one day the NRC newspaper published a letter it had received, which said: “In our newspaper one can occasionally find articles about Dr. Snouck Hurgronje, who he is, what he is doing in our colony, and his mission. I urgently request the editors of these newspapers, especially those published in Indonesia, to stop this, as they are not helping his work this way. The goal of Dr. Snouck Hurgronje is to get to learn Islam amongst the Mohammedans themselves, and that way [get to know] the big movement in our East, that procreates itself under the leadership of fanatical pilgrims, and that through many a bloodbath has already shown its importance.”. Quite clearly this letter to the NRC newspapers was a request to stop reporting on the activities of Snouck, such that these activities and the true goal they served could be hidden from the Indonesians.
When Snouck left for Indonesia his original plan was to travel in disguise to the inlands of Aceh, in order to get close to the Sultan of Aceh in Keumala and gather intelligence that would be of benefit to the Dutch army. The Dutch army, however, did not want Snouck’s help. Hence, the Dutch governor for Indonesia sent Snouck to Batavia. There he arrived on the 11th of May 1889, and shortly after it became apparent most Indonesian Muslims were unaware of his true intentions. Snouck’s Indonesian friends in Mecca had informed their countrymen of the arrival of Snouck, and had presented him to them as a learned Muslim scholar. Snouck therefore received many invitations from local Indonesians, in which he was regularly addressed as “Al Hajj Abdul Ghaffaar”, “Mufti” and even as “Sheikh al Islam of Batavia”.
During his later travels through Indonesia Snouck not only recorded all kinds of information about the local people. He also tried hard to increase his status amongst the local population. For this purpose he used to visit all the leading figures in any one area. And when in one area he was given the opportunity to marry the daughter of one of these leading figures, he gladly accepted. He married the 17-year old daughter of the head-panghulu of Tjiamis, Raden Hadji Mohammed Ta’ib, and his wife Nata Rasmi. Her name was Sangkana. She herself did not want to marry Snouck, who was much older than she was and not particularly handsome. But her parents urged her to marry the “great scholar” to increase the status of the family, so she did. Snouck married Sangkana according to Islamic practice. However, according to Dutch law it was not allowed for a European to marry a native woman. Therefore, once the Dutch media began to report on rumors that Snouck had married a native woman, Snouck himself sent letters to these newspapers to officially deny that he had gotten married.
For as far as Snouck’s time in Aceh is concerned, from July 1891 until February 1892, his role there was purely political. He was appointed “Advisor Eastern Languages and Mohammedan Law”. The book “The Acehnese” that Snouck published following his time in Aceh is actually made up of reports he had written for the colonial administration to advise them. The official name of this research project for the Dutch government was “Report on the religious and political situation in Aceh (Verslag omtrent de religieus politieke toestand in Atjeh)”. This report was over 1000 pages in length, and the book “The Acehnese” was made up of the first two chapters of the report. The Dutch government declared the third part of the report a “state secret”, and consequently this was kept hidden from the public until 1957. The main message in “Report on the religious and political situation in Aceh” was that the resistance in Aceh was not really being lead by the Sultan, as the Dutch had always thought, but by the Islamic scholars, the Ulema. Snouck therefore suggested the Dutch government should try to bribe the Sultan, and persecute the Ulema with full force. He said: “It is not possible to negotiate with the Ulema. Their teachings and self interest imply that they will only listen to violence. To hit them where it hurts, such that the Acehnese will become too afraid to join these gang-leaders, is an absolute prerequisite for restoring the order in Aceh”. The violence against the Islamic scholars that Snouck was calling for should achieve the following goal, as Snouck put it: “Such that in the end he [the scholar] will have to admit. He will have to distance himself from the teachings of Jihad, en he will have to turn to the harmful teachings regarding the Last Day. At that moment Islam will differ from the other great religions only through its teachings about worship and the rituals to be performed for attainment of eternal bliss.”. In other words, Snouck wanted violence against the Ulema such that they would stop talking about Jihad, the Islamic State, and other such concepts from “political Islam”; and going forward would only talk about the Day of Judgment and the rituals of worship.
Initially, the Dutch government ignored Snouck’s advise. They continued their wars focusing on the Sultan. But as the Aceh War was not being won, in 1896 they decided to try something else. They appointed general Joannes Benedictus Van Heutsz as governor for Aceh, and gave him the expressed task to organize complete subjugation of the region to Dutch rule. In 1898 Van Heutsz then appointed Snouck as his advisor in Aceh. Snouck would remain Van Heutsz’s advisor until 1901. Van Heutsz made sure the army followed the advice of Snouck from 1892, and regularly sent Snouck along with the army on military expeditions. As a consequence, Van Heutsz’s nickname became “the sword of Snouck”. The Dutch army then began a campaign that focused on finding and killing the Ulema of Aceh. And they were so successful in this that by 1903, after 30 years of war, they finally declared victory in Aceh.
Shortly after this announcement, however, pictures emerged from the battlefields in Aceh. They made clear that most “battlefields” of Van Heutsz’s and Snouck’s war had in fact been the villages of Aceh. To find and kill the Ulema the Dutch army had regularly gone into villages and simply killed each and every inhabitant – men, but also women and children. Nevertheless, after Aceh Snouck remained an advisor to the Dutch government. He also advised them in response to rebellions in Djambi, Krintji, Bandjarmasin, Riau-Lingga en Boni, for instance.
Snouck Hurgronje’s vision regarding the “Issue of Islam”During Snouck’s time, just as now, the “Issue of Islam” was high on the political agenda. And clearly, Snouck Hurgronje was not a scientist who remained on the sidelines of the issue. As a spy and advisor to the Dutch government he actively worked on solutions for the problems the Dutch were facing. Wherever In Indonesia there was a fire to be put out, there Snouck would be sent to ensure the Dutch regained control over the Muslims. But Snouck also worked on longer term solutions to the problems of the Dutch in Indonesia.
According to Snouck the fundamental problem with Islam was the fact that Muslims believed in the need for Unity of State, with a Khalifah governing over all of them according to Sharia law. In a letter to Goldziher in 1886, one year after his journey to Mecca, Snouck said: “… I never had any objections to the religious elements of this institute [Islam]. Only its political influence is, in my opinion, deplorable. And as a Dutchmen especially I feel a strong need to warn against this.”
According to Snouck it was the political side of Islam that caused all the problems for the Dutch in Indonesia – because it motivated the Indonesians to resist the Dutch occupation. But, according to Snouck the political side of Islam was a problem for the Muslims themselves also. According to him the belief of the Muslims in the Islamic State Al Khilafah with Islamic Law is what kept them backward. Snouck was of the opinion that the Shariah laws were not really revealed laws, but were laws invented by the Muslims of the Middle Ages. Because the Muslims believed they were revealed laws, and hence did not want to distance themselves from these laws, the Muslims were stuck in the Middle Ages, Snouck argued. Colonialism was really a blessing, Snouck therefore said, because it introduced the Muslims to the modern ideas of the Enlightenment, secularism, personal freedom and democracy. Snouck said: “The approximately 230.000.000 Mohammedans that live under non-Muslim rule very often do not have sufficient awareness of history to be able to recognize that the change in governance has meant an improvement for them. They look at the political history of Islam through the veil of a legend. And if and when this legend gives reason to complain, they usually belief that all these complaints would be resolved if the Emir al Mu’umineen would manage their affairs.”
What Snouck envisioned as a final solution for the “Issue of Islam” was a change of Islam. Snouck wanted Islam to become just like Christianity. A religion that consists solely of rituals of worship, and that leaves all other affairs of men, such as legislation and politics, to man. Snouck said: “The only true solution for the problem lies in assimilating the Mohammedan subjects of the Dutch with the Dutch. If we can succeed in this, there will not be an ‘Issue of Islam’ any more. Then there will be enough cultural unity between the subjects of the Queen of The Netherlands living at the coast of the North Sea and those living in Insulinde, making the difference in their religions devoid of any political or social importance.”. Snouck called this goal of his “mental annexation”. If the Indonesian Muslims would believe in the western ideology just like the westerners, then they would feel one with the westerners and no longer object to being ruled by the westerners, although their religious rituals might be different.
Snouck therefore advised the Dutch government to distinguish between what he termed the “real core of dogma” of Islam, such as praying, Hajj, belief in the Day of Judgement, et cetera, which according to Snouck were all harmless matters of belief; and “everything that is political or could eventually become political”. The “real core of dogma”, or what Snouck would sometimes call “the purely religious”, should be left completely free. But the government should forcefully act against political Islam. The Caliphate, Holy War, Shariah, should not be talked about anymore, anywhere.
Snouck believed this goal of his was a realistic goal, as he made clear in a letter to his friend Goldziher: “I am convinced that in Indonesia a compromise between Islam and humanism is possible.”
And he saw realizing this compromise as his real task as an orientalist: “The development of the Mohammedan world in the direction of our culture, that is part and parcel of my life’s work.”
Andreas De Vries is an international management consultant, and an international speaker and author of several publications on geopolitical, economic and Islamic affairs. He is also a guest contributor for New Civilisation.
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect New Civilisation’s editorial policy.
 The Dutch government funded Snouck’s travel indirectly, by providing him with the grant through the Government financed Royal Institute for Linguistics and Anthropology (Koninklijk Instituut voor Taal-, Land-, en Volkenkunde).
 For more on Raden Aboe Bakr, see: “Raden Aboe Bakar; An introductory note concerning Snouck Hurgronje’s informant in Jeddah (1884-1912)”, by Michael Laffan, in “Bijdragen tot de Taal-, Land- en Volkenkunde”, volume 155, number 4, pages 517-542, Leiden, 1999. www.kitlv-journals.nl/index.php/btlv/issue/view/673/showToc
 According to P.S. Van Koningsveld. Other some sources say the date was the 22nd of February 1885.
 According to the curator of an exhibition about Snouck in Dubai, Elie Domit, Snouck had gotten married in Mecca to an Ethiopian Muslim lady. When he fled the city, he left her – pregnant at that time – behind. See: www.arabnews.com/lifestyle/article199027.ece
 Today Jakarta.
 The Sunda and the West-Java are the main tribes on the Indonesian Island of Java.
 Indonesian for “madrassah”.
 In this letter Snouck addressed the Dutch Minister for Colonial Affairs, A.P.C. van Karnebeek.
 An Islamic judge with administrative responsibility for the mosques and its personnel.
 Old-Dutch term for Indonesia.
 During the First World War Snouck had a slight change of heart, however. At that time he urged the Dutch government to not allow Indonesian Muslims to go on Hajj, as he believed the contact between the Indonesian Muslims and the Islamic State should be completely broken during times of war.